From the investigation of user concerns, trust was revealed as the most important concern and so it required the website to be built around this. To create trust for a new website visitor, many different designs were tested to create trust and their effectiveness was measured in statistically valid cohort analysis. The best performing, final design contained a video of a woman laughing with a happy dog on her lap on the home page as well as clear five star rating by a known celebrity at the top of the page. Very targeted trust-building language and pictures as well as more visual trust markers created by media outlet appearances were also shown to generate deep trust for the majority of first time visitors.
This benefit was achieved with a website flow which made signing up for the services a seamless and desirable process. To achieve this we created a form layout which had all necessary information visible without needing to scroll (above the fold). The form used a world first innovative, autofill location search bar based on Geotagging which users interacted with immediately. This was combined with simple drop down menus which grouped complex options into simple categories. We tracked the engagement levels after each change via statistical A/B testing. The final layout both built trust and requested user sign up at the right time and ended up doubling the number of visitors choosing to use the service.
At the point Ebex engaged Mad Paws, they needed the website to help them convince investors of the viability of the business model. This was a separate commercial challenge to convincing pet owners to use the service. To achieve this, the website was designed to create a low cost per acquisition by having few touch points and also to make sure new visitors not only used the service once but became repeat users of the service. This was achieved by numerous calls to action and giving users a reason to come back to the website and engage with the brand while they were not using its services. To do so we provided useful pet owner information and tips around taking care of pets on a set of blogs and forum pages.
Another emotional connection discovered during user testing was to create a website belonging to part of a larger community that people felt was open and welcoming. It was also a key part of the commercial strategy. To do so it was decided to create a social media presence on the main platforms of Twitter, Facebook and Google+ but also to create their own blog where readers can comment on thought pieces, humourous photos and videos, and tips to engage with the brand on topics of interest to pet owners. By tying the blog into their social media platforms the effectiveness of all the platforms were amplified and created a powerful and inclusive community which also helped acquire new users from other channels.
A top user concern was being able to engage with the business. The most important way to do this was to make it easy to contact the company. Now not only does the company have easily visible email and phone contacts but we implemented an innovative Livechat feature whereby users can post a question or comment on the website directly and receive an immediate answer during business hours. This Livechat feature transformed into a web inquiry form outside of business hours so no question was missed. User forums were also created where users could suggest features, post tips and raise any issues they may have. This has been a powerful way to solve problems and allowed Mad Paws to become the pet caring authority.
The final but important part of the business model was to attract pet carers. This posed a particular challenge as Mad Paws made money from owners and not carers. Although less important, it needed to be a seamless process that encouraged pet owners to sign up but not take attention away from the pet minding services. We achieved this goal by creating a separate sign up page with clear statements of the benefits of being a pet carer as well as language which appealed to people pet lovers like “Looking for cuddles?”. We added strong visuals with cute puppies and create an enormously successful webpage to convert visitors into pet carers.